Rebecca Priestley wins Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize

The VUW Senior Science lecturer is also a current MA in Creative Writing student.

Dr Rebecca Priestley, a senior lecturer in the Science in Society Group at Victoria University of Wellington and a well-known science writer, has been awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize. The prize, worth $100,000, recognises 'interest, passion and aptitude for science communication and public engagement' by a practising scientist or science communicator.

The Science Communication Prize is one of five annual science awards that comprise New Zealand's most prestigious and valuable annual science awards. Read more about the Science Prize winners.

The winners were announced by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith. 'The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes celebrate scientific achievement, highlight the impact science has on New Zealanders’ lives, and aim to attract more young people into science careers,' Mr Goldsmith says.

Rebecca’s career in science communication spans more than 20 years. Over the past six of those, she has written more than 200 science articles and features for the New Zealand Listener. She is the author or co-author of eight books on the history of science, including The Awa Book of New Zealand Science and Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age, appears regularly at book and science festivals around the country, and has curated exhibitions on the history of New Zealand science.

At Victoria University, Rebecca co-leads the Science in Society Group with Dr Rhian Salmon. Rebecca teaches science communication and history of science as part of the Group’s suite of courses that explore the relationship between science and society. She has also co-taught, with Ashleigh Young, a creative science writing course at the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML).  She also leads a MOOC (massive online open course) about Antarctic science, the first to be offered internationally by Victoria University which was founded by some of the world’s top universities. Rebecca intends to use part of her prize money to collaborate with previous winners in developing a new MOOC on science communication. Read more about Rebecca.

In 2017, Rebecca is undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML.